2011-2012 CIHR-IHSPR Article of the Year Award Recipients

Recognizing ground-breaking health services and policy research

The CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research (CIHR-IHSPR) is pleased to announce that Drs. Chaim Bell and Michael Law have both received the 2012 CIHR-IHSPR Article of the Year Award. This award recognizes published research that has significantly contributed to the advancement of the field of health services and policy research in Canada.

The CIHR-IHSPR Article of the Year Review Committee selected Dr. Law's article, "The Effect of Cost on Adherence to Prescription Medications in Canada" and Dr. Bell’s article, “Association of ICU or hospital admission with unintentional discontinuation of medications for chronic diseases“, for their relevance to health services and policy research, as well as for the extent to which they contribute to the advancement of this field of research in Canada and have an impact on policy.

In addition to receiving an award of $10 000, Drs. Bell and Law were honoured at the Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research conference, held in Montreal  in May 2012.

Chaim Bell

Chaim Bell (MD PhD FRCP(C)) is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME) at the University of Toronto.  He is a hospital-based general internist at St Michael’s Hospital and a scientist at its Keenan Research Centre in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute.  He is also an adjunct scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) in Ontario and a Core Member of the University of Toronto Centre for Patient Safety.  He received his MD from the University of Toronto where he also completed his specialty training in Internal Medicine. He was a Visiting Fellow in Medical Economics and Cost-Effectiveness Analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health and then received his PhD in Clinical Epidemiology and Health Services Research from the University of Toronto. Dr. Bell holds a joint CIHR-CPSI Chair in Patient Safety and Continuity of Care.

Chaim’s research in the last 8 years has focused on the area of patient safety, specifically the gaps during transitions in care. This research has helped to inform healthcare intervention strategies through the national patient safety efforts of Safer Healthcare Now (SHN) and the Institute for Safe Medication Practice (ISMP) Canada.  Dr. Bell has worked with stakeholders utilizing an integrated Knowledge Translation Framework to develop and establish medication reconciliation strategies in hospitals and the community, including long-term care facilities.

Dr. Bell’s paper entitled, "Association of ICU or hospital admission with unintentional discontinuation of medications for chronic diseases” was published in JAMA in 2011. The paper reported that patients prescribed medications for chronic diseases were at risk for potentially unintentional discontinuation after hospital admission.  In addition, admission to the ICU was generally associated with an even higher risk of medication discontinuation. These findings highlight the widespread prevalence of potential errors of omission and the risk for long-term harm following hospitalization.

Dr. Bell is interested in accepting students in the general area of clinical epidemiology/health services research, patient safety, quality of care, medical errors, continuity of care, and cost-effectiveness analysis in health policy.

To learn more about Dr. Bell’s research, please contact him at BellC@smh.ca.

Bell CM, Brener S, Gunraj N, Huo C, Bierman AS, Scales D, Bajcar J, Zwarenstein M, Urbach DR. Association of ICU or hospital admission with unintentional discontinuation of medications for chronic diseases. JAMA 2011;306:840-847.

Michael Law

Michael Law (PhD) is an Assistant Professor in the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research (CHSPR) at the University of British Columbia. He completed a PhD in Health Policy at Harvard University and a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School, where he trained in research methods and statistics. Since his appointment at UBC he has received several notable awards, including the 2011 Labelle Lectureship at McMaster University, a CIHR New Investigator Award, and a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar Award.

Michael’s research focuses on pharmaceutical policy. This includes work on access to and use of prescription drugs, including studies of government drug coverage changes, the affordability of prescription drugs, generic drug pricing, the value of newer drugs, and the impact of direct-to-consumer advertising on drug use and costs. Currently, Michael is the primary investigator of two major CIHR-funded projects, including an evaluation of a BC policy that allows pharmacists to independently adapt and renew prescriptions. His is also currently investigating the structure and availability of private drug coverage.

Dr. Law’s paper entitled, “The Effect of Cost on Adherence to Prescription Medications in Canada” was published in the CMAJ in 2012. The paper provides compelling evidence about the impact of the Canadian “patchwork” approach to prescription drug coverage. It shows that the cost of prescription medications results in 1 in 10 Canadians being unable to afford to take their prescription drugs as directed. More importantly, it is the first research to show that the brunt of these high costs falls on those individuals who need the protection most: the poor, the sick and the uninsured. Even after adjusting for a number of possible confounding factors, for example, Canadians without drug insurance had 4.5 times higher odds of not being able to afford their drugs than their peers.

Dr. Law supervises master’s and doctoral students interested in: pharmaceutical policy evaluation, affordability of prescription drugs, pharmacist scope of practice and prescribing rights, private drug coverage and direct-to-consumer advertising.

To learn more about Dr. Law’s research, please contact him at mlaw@chspr.ubc.ca.

Law MR, Cheng L, Dhalla IA, Heard D, Morgan SG. The Effect of Cost on Adherence to Prescription Medications in Canada. CMAJ 2012; 184(3):297-302.

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